IN just four days, you can really tour theworld of education at the WEM!” enthusesWorld Education Market (WEM) directorElaine Legault.
After three successful years at the helm ofthe WEM, Legault is more upbeat than everabout this year's event and what it has instore for education professionals the worldover.
“The education industry is still evolving rapidly and WEM has an important role to play in reflecting the present state and future trends shaping the global marketplace,” she says.
For WEM 2003, the organisers have developed more opportunities to facilitate networking, especially with new initiatives for the broadcasters, cities and regions, e-learning and collaborative technology-enhanced learning, as well as the “Meeting of Like Minds” sessions.
“When the stakes are high – for example in terms of cost, scale and complexity – international forums such as WEM are of utmost importance to benchmark activities and identify the right partners,” says Legault.
A three-day affair, the WEM is a trade event for education professionals. It comprises an extensive exhibition showcase of the best and latest in education from around the world; conference programmes highlighting topical issues; as well as networking opportunities through features such as Themed Villages, National Pavilions, Product Demonstrations and National Spotlight Sessions.
To date, six Malaysian institutions have confirmed participation at WEM 2003, in the National Pavilion.
“We are very pleased to welcome the Malaysian delegation to WEM 2003 to showcase their expertise at the National Pavilion. Other national pavilions include Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Tunisia and the UK. Other parts of Asia and Latin America are also organising their presence on national and regional stands,” Legault adds.
Since its inception in 2000, WEM has been successful, among other things, in facilitating cross-industry and cross-country partnership opportunities.
“In bringing together the full range of actors from the private and public sectors – at a ratio of 50:50 – from around the world, WEM puts education professionals in touch with potential buyers, suppliers, producers, publishers, distributors or partners for sales, etc, for product development, technical support, localisation and successful market entry into new territories,” says Legault.
To illustrate her point, Legault cited an example of a partnership that developed at the WEM 2002.
“We had North-South partnerships as well as South-South partnerships. For example, Colombian and Chinese education authorities negotiated a deal at WEM last year,” she says.
The event received tremendous positive feedback from past year participants who formed successful and workable partnerships.
WEM 2002 participant Ingeborg Bo, executive director of the Norwegian Association for Distance Education, says: “WEM was an interesting meeting place. A great variety of different experts in e-learning and education were present.
“About 30 people attended the Norway national spotlight and we felt that the atmosphere was good. Many of the participants come to our stand afterwards. We have extended our networks and contacts have been made.”
Like Bo, many participants have taken advantage of the unique opportunity WEM presents in developing partnerships with players that have complementary roles in servicing and delivering education and training at all levels.
“Over the last three years, leading education decision-makers and industry professionals have put WEM on their annual agenda. WEM combines an international marketplace with a contact-enhancing environment designed to accelerate business development, and is therefore a unique platform where education professionals can identify each other, meet face to face and build relationships with counterparts from around the world,” says Legault.
Among the exciting new features at the WEM 2003 is the Broadcasters' Village for educational broadcasters and programmers to meet, create synergies, share experiences and jointly develop content.
“Public service television and educational broadcasters play a pivotal role in providing quality programmes and services that educate, inspire and entertain learners of all ages around the world.
“In creating the Broadcasters' Village at WEM, we are responding to an industry need for an annual global event,” she says.
Through the initiative of BBC Worldwide, France 5 and AITED, education broadcasters will be grouped together in the Broadcasters' Village which will have its own exhibition space comprising TV forums and networking events.
Here, professionals from the audiovisual and new media industries will have the opportunity to connect with their counterparts in educational programming from around the world – either to buy or sell educational television, video or multimedia programmes; find potential co-production partners; develop their international network; or explore case studies of successful international co-productions and multimedia applications, etc.
Leading broadcasters who have confirmed their presence to date include BBC Worldwide (UK), France 5 (France), AITED, 4Learning (UK), Discovery (USA), EBS (South Korea) and AITED's members WGBH (US), Tele-Québec (Canada), TV Cultura (Brazil), TV Futura (Brazil), and the Japan Prize.
“At the TV forums, broadcast and production professionals attending WEM can discuss the components of educational programmes, assess the potential of programme extensions (websites, support materials, CD-ROMs, streaming video clips), view some of the most innovative programmes and approaches, and explore in practical ways the dimensions of international co-productions,” says Legault.
A new addition will be the Research Labs Pavilion, which will bring together highly innovative projects tackling different application areas of technology-enhanced learning – schools, universities, on-the-job training and lifelong learning at home.
“The work shown is the result of collaborative effort undertaken by many European organisations and companies that work on the frontier of learning and technology, and shows the width and depth of current European research and development in this field that is key for personal and societal prosperity and growth in a modern Europe,” explains Legault.
·WEM 2003 will be held from May 20 to 23 in Lisbon, Portugal. To book a place at WEM 2003, contact LimKokWing University College of Creative Technology vice-president Gail Phung at: 03-7806 2688. For more details, visit www.wemex.com
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